St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, January 22, 2010

All in the "Spin" of Things, Eh?

Guess it depends on the "spin", er, the twist, of words! This story is a great one, even though the ties to Reid are not real. This story is one that illustrates how stories can change over time. It is easy to imagine the "history revised" version being told by descendants who might be ashamed of the illustrious past of their ancestors. Just remember that the next time someone tells you they are related to royalty or they had 10 horsethieves in the family. Genealogy. The family stories can be amusing, but it's best done with the facts.

Go on and read this lore and just-- smile with the twist on the words.

Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher in southern California, was doing some personal work on her own family tree.

She discovered that Congressman Harry Reid's great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory:

On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription:
'Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885,
escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times.
Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.'

So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle.

Believe it or not, Harry Reid's staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

"Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory .
His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable
equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad.
Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government
service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad.
In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the
renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency.
In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function
held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing

NOW THAT's how it's done, Folks!

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